Arzo Khan, 22, realised her dream and established an online fashion shop with no lack of bling-bling.
Why do all the nice-looking clothes and jewellery always cost so much? Arzo Khan was already thinking about this a couple of years ago. The Helsinki resident, who actively follows fashion, found it difficult to find affordable and distinctive clothes in Finland.
“When I was a little girl, I used to dream of having my own clothing shop with bling-bling and glitter. My dream would be to have my own clothing brand and a brick-and-mortar shop, but my parents felt that it would be safer to start with an online shop,” Arzo says.
Last autumn, Arzo got down to business and made an appointment with NewCo Helsinki’s business adviser Anu Oksanen. A remote appointment would have been possible, but Arzo wanted to meet the business adviser face to face. She confesses that she knew little or nothing about running a business.
“At first, it seemed that it was really difficult to estimate the costs of business activities. Even the business plan seemed complicated.”
At NewCo Helsinki’s business advisory services, they started looking for answers one piece at a time. The task was to find a suitable company form and e-commerce platform for Arzo as well as making calculations on the profitability of the business.
“The starting point of everything is the entrepreneur’s own interest and passion. Arzo immediately had a strong vision of her business and a desire to work towards her dream,” says Anu Oksanen.
Anu points out that on NewCo Helsinki’s website, www.newcohelsinki.fi, there is a lot of useful material to support a starting entrepreneur, such as guides and plan templates. The free business advisory services can be utilised as early as the development phase of the business idea.
“When you quickly get to bounce a business idea around with a professional, you immediately get concrete ideas and a more realistic view of entrepreneurship.”
Customers from Instagram and TikTok
Arzo decided to start a proprietorship and use Shopify’s e-commerce platform. Her relative in Belgium gave her a tip about wholesalers that might have products that Arzo could sell. The young entrepreneur started to grow her product range moderately so that the start-up costs of the company would not get too high.
“I had a couple thousand euros saved, and I also got some start-up capital from my parents for the purchases. I use my own room as the storeroom, and even now it is full of stuff,” Arzo says with a laugh.
Arzo’s Boutique looks like every young woman’s dream: the range includes velour outfits with glitter text, faux fur coats, satin dresses and beauty products. Arzo has even customised some of the clothes by hand. In addition, she makes jewellery for sale.
“I look for ideas by following international celebrities’ social media channels. There, you can get a hint of the upcoming trends and the products that young consumers in particular will want to buy soon.”
Arzo pays attention to the small details, which she also believes customers appreciate.
“I want the customer to receive the products in beautiful packages, wrapped in silk paper. Just like when ordering from luxury brands.”
Marketing is done at a low cost through social media: Arzo’s Boutique has more than ten thousand followers on Instagram and also an account on TikTok. The power of social media sometimes surprises even the entrepreneur.
“I once released a video about a product in the evening and went to bed. The next morning, I noticed that there were three hundred new orders for that product in the webshop. My mom helped me pack the products so we could send them all.”
Alternative to summer job: summer entrepreneurship
One way to test your business idea is to try entrepreneurship as a summer job. Since 2020, the City of Helsinki has offered young people aged 15 to 29 the opportunity of summer entrepreneurship, implemented by TAT (Economy and youth) and the 4H organisation. In both programmes, young people receive entrepreneurship training, personal guidance and a €300 summer entrepreneur voucher.
“With summer entrepreneurship, young people can start building their own kind of working life if there is no interesting work available on the market. At the same time, summer entrepreneurship is a great way to get to know entrepreneurship in a guided way and with the help of mentors,” says Anu Oksanen.
Both summer entrepreneurship programmes offer a place for 20 young people in Helsinki. The programmes will run from early May to early August.
The application deadline for the summer entrepreneurship programmes is 15 April 2022.
Kesäyrittäjä https://tat.fi/palvelu/kesayrittaja/ (in Finnish).
Yrityskesä https://www.pks4h.fi/yrityskesa/ (in Finnish).
Support for entrepreneurship
NewCo Helsinki’s business advisors provide confidential business advisory services to lend a hand to entrepreneurs who are starting a new business and developing their operations. Check out our free-of-charge business advisory services and our events in event calendar.